Tennyson's Poems

Sonnet To J.M.K.

First printed in 1830, not in 1833.

This sonnet was addressed to John Mitchell Kemble, the well-known Editor of the 'Beowulf' and other Anglo-Saxon poems. He intended to go into the Church, but was never ordained, and devoted his life to early English studies. See memoir of him in 'Dict, of Nat. Biography'.

My hope and heart is with thee--thou wilt be

A latter Luther, and a soldier-priest

To scare church-harpies from the master's feast;

Our dusted velvets have much need of thee:

Thou art no Sabbath-drawler of old saws,

Distill'd from some worm-canker'd homily;

But spurr'd at heart with fieriest energy

To embattail and to wall about thy cause

With iron-worded proof, hating to hark

The humming of the drowsy pulpit-drone

Half God's good sabbath, while the worn-out clerk

Brow-beats his desk below. Thou from a throne

Mounted in heaven wilt shoot into the dark

Arrows of lightnings. I will stand and mark.